Let’s Talk with Maggie Toussaint

Twenty Shades of Fall
By Maggie Toussaint

Have you ever considered how many phrases involve the word fall? That’s where my brain went for a FALL post this year. I hope you enjoy list of twenty “fall” phrases and my authorly asides.

Fall down – that’s easy, we all know what that means. A footing mishap caused you to move from vertical to horizontal. Often accompanied by a loss of pride and a sore body part.
Fall is a season – the synonym for autumn, aka a glorious time of Indian summer, earthy scents, vibrant color palettes in nature, shorter days, migratory birds or game, harvest time picking and preserving, and pumpkins scattered amidst Christmas decorations.

Happy 4 years old child boy and autumn in a park. Kid has fun playing in fall leaves.

Falling out – two people who disagree strongly, often occurs between authors and publishers somewhere between 5-10 years.
Falling in love – what most people desire above all things, a main squeeze who reciprocates your feelings. Love must be problematic in fiction to drive conflict.
Fall leaves – the brightly pigmented leaves that soon drop to the ground; I love to play in these as long as they aren’t poison ivy.
Fall back on – this is the Plan B of life, the one we gravitate to when Plan A is a no-go. Authors are very familiar with Plan B.

stressed businessman with falling down business chart background

Fall flat on your face – not a good look for anyone, often painful, and should generally be avoided as your recovery may be dependent on another’s whims. This is a close cousin to egg on your face but much harder to regain lost ground.
Falling over yourself – a clumsy moment when feet are akimbo or in mouth. Rarely has a happy ending.
Fall away – instead of falling in the preferred direction of forward, you fall backward in a big, disastrous way. A huge drop is implied as well as altered circumstance afterward.
Fall into place – An “A-Team” moment where the plan works like a charm; authors usually feel this way after the final edit of a book.
Fall guy – the patsy who takes the blame instead of the real baddies; good for a literary character, not so good if you become a fall guy.
Fall short – uh-oh, you ran out of money or effort, as in you didn’t meet the benchmark; in writing, you never want to fall short of the required word count.
Fall for – an emotional attachment to another person; if unrequited or reciprocated, the fabric of relationship plots and subplots.
Fall through the crack – this is what you’d like to do when you’ve embarrassed yourself; alternately, this is how you feel when your publisher or agent doesn’t return your calls or emails.
Fall apart -usually does not involve loss of life or limb; instead it’s an outpouring of uncontrolled negative emotion; this happens to authors when publishers decide to close their doors.
Fall by the wayside – when something is sidelined and often lost. If what you want to happen falls by the wayside it is extremely frustrating; somewhere in this world is the wayside where all the errant query letters pile up.

Paper Doll cut outs standing on white

Fall in line – another way of saying “line-up”; often this applies to corporate philosophy as in they want you to drink the corporate Kool-Aid and function in their prescribed manner.
Fall asleep – when you stop moving, eyes close, and you recharge through rest, dreaming, and whatever else subroutines your subconsciousness orders. No physical falling involved, though there is a steep drop from consciousness to unconsciousness. The portal through which one falls asleep is easily accessible for some but impossible to find for others. This functionality varies through time, season, and decade.
Falls – fake hair pinned to your head or noisy segments where river elevation changes; either application can bring joys or headaches.

In researching this, I also learned of a new phrase: “Fall Board,” which is the covering piece for piano keys, which prevents anything unintended from touching the ivories. In addition to reducing temptation in an outta-sight-outta-mind kind of way, it serves as a physical reminder that you don’t have the right to touch this. For many authors, there’s a fall board between them and the major writing awards.

Lastly, FALLING INTO A GOOD BOOK, which is something I recommend for October and all other months. I’m giving away a Dreamwalker Mystery, winner’s choice, to a random.org chosen winner, selected from the comments on this post that include the word FALL. Must have a US Mailing address for print books.

In addition, our October contest is going on right now! Be sure to click over to enter. One winner is selected every month, and you may select one mystery from the six in the prize vault. Click here.